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Senate Approves House’s 3-Month Highway Bill

July 30, 2015, by David Cullen

The Senate passed its massive and contentious long-term highway bill and then approved the three-month extension of federal highway funding passed earlier by the House.

The $8 billion patch, which runs out on October 29, has been sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign the bill.

The Senate voted 65-34  to approve its $50-billion six-year bill, which funds federal highway and other surface-transportation infrastructure projects for just three years. The Democratic vote was split on the measure while 15 Republicans, including three running presidential campaigns, voted against the bill.

With push coming to shove, the Senate approved the patch, which the House passed on July 29, by a highly bipartisan 91-4 vote.

The upper chamber’s spectacular display of productivity on July 30 was driven by the clock running down to the expiration of highway funding at midnight the very next day-- and with the August congressional recess already underway on the House side.

With the patch slapped in place, road funding will flow a little longer.

But once they are back from their break, House and Senate transportation leaders will have little time to craft a multi-year highway bill acceptable to a majority of members in their respective chambers.

Or Capitol Hill could kick the can down the road again with yet another or another series of short-term highway patches.

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